Between September and February, hunters use double punts in the Blackwater River near Britain’s North Sea coast.
Maldon Double-Punt, circa 1938
Designed by Sir Ralph Payne-Gallwey (1848-1916)
United Kingdom of Great Britain
Gift of Mr. F. Phillips Willamson
To go out in a northeaster on those treacherous flats in a narrow punt, entirely undecked… from bow to stern and nowhere more than six inches out of the water… with a 100-lb. gun weighting down her bows… was a task which none but a brave man and a consummate puntsman could attempt. – Stephen P. Nunn, Fowlers Moon. 1934
Between September and February, hunters use double punts in the Blackwater River near Britain’s North Sea coast. The estuary is a rich habitat for thousands of migratory waterfowl that, for centuries, locals have hunted for food, sport and sale to the London markets.
Punt gunning is a tactical stalking sport involving the weather, tides, and the habits of wildfowl. Lying face down, the puntmen quietly propel their vessel toward a flock of birds before firing the “big gun.”
Why is it called a “double punt?”
A double punt employs a rower who maneuvers the boat into shooting position while a second man fires the punt gun.
Isn’t a gun that size illegal?
Large-bore punt guns are still legal for hunting wildfowl in several of Britain’, like the Blackwater River. Around the Chesapeake Bay, however, “outlaw gunners” used similar size guns to illegally hunt wildfowl.
Origin: England, Essex, Maldon